When the Clutter Piles Up

The kitchen island gets a lot of traffic in my home.

Piles of mail.

Car keys.

My husband’s wallet.

Dirty coffee cups.

My daughter’s latest craft supplies.

School papers.

It doesn’t bother me if just one of the above items gets plopped down. But usually it’s a combination of these items together that drives me bonkers!!

After coming and going in different directions, things begin to pile up. And finally it gets to where I just can’t take anymore!

In that moment I am on a mission. (And anyone who is in the room is strongly encouraged to help me in this mission.)

It’s time to clean up the clutter. Time to put things away in their rightful place.

The wallet and keys need to go somewhere else, but not here. The dirty cups need to go in the sink. Pieces of scrap paper need to be trashed.

And junk mail? That’s a no-brainer…in the trash!

Once that’s accomplished, I feel better and can function again.

Just maybe this is a powerful picture of what we do with the clutter of LIFE.

Things slowly begin to pile up.

First it’s one thing. And then another.

One emergency to throw us off. An unexpected episode that sets you in a tail spin. A forgotten commitment. Someone asking you to do something else. People and projects pulling you in opposite directions.

Just one of these things might not be so bad by itself. But when they start to pile up, you can feel it coming. When you go from full to empty with no time to fill up. And before you know it, your life is full of clutter.

I can’t take this anymore!

And one by one, we can start to tackle the things that clutter us up. Not a clutter we can see. But the clutter on the inside. The clutter of our negative thoughts. The clutter of our distorted perspective.

The clutter of our soul.

Some things just need to be put in a different place. (Do I need to delegate something to someone else? Do I need to say no to a request of my time?)

Some things we need to get rid of. (The feelings of hopelessness. The toxic thinking that spirals out of control.)

And some things we just need to accept. (That person we want to change is out of our control. The season of life we must go through to get to the other side.)

And once we start to clean up the clutter, we can breathe again. We receive clarity.

We feel hope.

We can even invite others around us to help. People to hold us accountable. Friends to walk alongside us.

To help us sort through the messes of life.

I will probably continue to lose the ongoing battle of keeping my kitchen island cleared of clutter.

But I can most certainly win the war that stirs in my soul.

It’s a constant battle.                       Day after day.                                 Moment by moment.

But when I surrender to God and reach out for help, the clutter of life gets put in place. Not an overnight fix. But a gradual victory over time, through each season of life.

I think it’s okay to want an uncluttered kitchen. But I most certainly need to be more aware of the clutter of my soul.

What about you? Are things piling up in your world? Feeling overwhelmed with the clutter?

Let’s reach out and call on the One who can help us sort through it all. I believe with all my heart that Jesus is waiting for us to ask Him to clean up our clutter.

The less clutter there is, the more room He has to give us PEACE.

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. ~Psalm 25:4-5

Blessings to you!


Check out my devotional book, Embracing The Race


The Things That Really Matter

It’s a home school day. What lies ahead? Will it be calm? Or full of drama? My daughter drops her pencil on the floor and by her response you would think the world was caving in. Drama……Really? It’s just a dropped pencil for heaven’s sake!

A few minutes later after recovering from the dropped pencil, she makes a mistake on her math paper. It’s only one out of twenty-five, yet by her response you’d think she had missed all of them. More drama….. Really? It’s only ONE problem! Why can’t she focus on the twenty-four problems she mastered?

Just when I think this girl of mine has exerted all the drama she could possibly muster in such a short time, we have yet another incident. She uses the wrong shade of blue to label a city on her map for geography class. She had meant to use light blue but discovers she’s used a dark blue. By her response you’d think she had used black scribbles all over it! More drama…..again.

With all these dramatic incidents, I plead with her to not get so upset over the little things.

“Focus on the big picture, sweetheart. You’re doing a great job, but you are absolutely exhausting yourself emotionally  when you get upset like this. Save your energy for the big stuff–the things that really matter.”

I shake my head and shoot up an arrow prayer before going about my day. “God, please help this child to stay calm with the trivial things! Why is she acting like this? She is wearing me out!”

Just a few hours later I am working on balancing our bank account. In the busyness of this season, receipts and bank statements have piled up and I am way behind schedule. I optimistically think that I can knock this out quickly. (First mistake…..I set up an expectation.)

I am plugging along at a good pace and then all of a sudden the computer locks up. It freezes. I can’t continue with this task. I yell at the computer screen as if it is a person and can actually hear me.

Come on! What is wrong with you!?

When it doesn’t respond the way I want it to, my frustration grows and I slam my fist on the desk. Wham!

In the still small voice that I know is God whispering to my weary soul, I hear Him say this: Really, Lisa? All this drama over a frozen computer screen? This is a little thing. Save your emotional energy for the big stuff.

A little later I head out the door to run an errand. When I retrieve my phone from the charger, I notice the charger is NOT working. My phone is still dead. Now I must go out of the house with no phone! My frustration level rises….again. By my response you would think the world was caving in.

The still small voice I heard a few hours prior is calling me….again. This time it seems a bit louder. Lisa, this is a little thing. You are too focused on this phone. The world will not fall apart without it. Save your emotional energy for the big stuff.

I finally let the reality of this profound truth sink in. Just as my daughter fell apart over trivial issues, I too squandered my energy on petty frustrations. Things that don’t really matter when viewed through the lens of eternity. From God’s perspective, these little things are really no big deal.

I need to be reminded of what the apostle Paul says about trivial things in 2 Corinthians 4:17: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

A dropped pencil, a missed math problem and a map mistake? Light and momentary troubles!

A frozen computer screen and a broken phone charger? Light and momentary troubles! 

So what is this eternal glory Paul talks about? Well, that would be the big stuff.  The stuff that really matters.

Lingering a little longer in my daughter’s bedroom at night to listen to her and pray with her. Eternal glory!

Having coffee with a single mom who needs a listening ear. Eternal glory!

Planning a family night to just hang out and laugh together. Eternal glory!

Yes, these are the things that really matter. But if I exert too much energy on the little things, I’ll be depleted and won’t have anything to offer when it’s really needed.

What about you? What light and momentary troubles are you dealing with this week? If you’re like me, it’s easy to get focused on those things and lose heart. But I pray we will see these things for what they are–light and momentary–and save our energy for the things that really matter.



 Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Check out my book, Embracing The Race: 40 Devotions for the Runner’s Soul


Where Strength is Found

Sometimes I feel worn down. Extremely weak. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. All of the above. Strength seems far away. Non-existent. Yet I feel I must DO something to gain strength.

To gain strength physically I exert myself full force into a weight lifting session or a 3-mile run. After I DO those things, my physical body will gain strength, stamina and endurance.

To gain emotional strength I can DO something to lift my mood. Dive into a favorite book. Put on an upbeat CD to re-focus my attention. Or maybe even convince myself that something sweet like ice cream or chocolate will soothe my frail emotions.

But to gain spiritual strength, what is my first response when I feel weak?  I can DO some things that will perhaps make me feel better: Go to church. Turn on the Christian radio station and sing my heart out. Go to my Bible study. Call a trusted friend and unload my concerns.

These are good things, yet all of them involve me doing something. According to Isaiah 30:15, there’s a different message to those who are feeling weak and in need of strength:

In quietness and trust is your strength. 

I don’t see any action verbs that stand out in that verse. Shouldn’t I be doing something to gain strength? How can being quiet bring strength? And what about that word trust? How do you know someone is in the act of trusting? You can’t see it. Where is the action here??

The action is being accomplished by God Himself. When we are still and quiet in His presence, His strength becomes ours. When we truly trust God, our burdens are lifted from us. He takes them from us–in His strength. We don’t have to DO anything outwardly in our own strength. He does it all.

Quietness and trust go hand-in-hand. Being still before Him with a surrendered heart allows us to soak up His presence. And when we do that, it is easier to trust. When we know Him more intimately through His word and prayer, we can confidently trust Him. That is where our strength is gained. Not by anything we do, but by being in Him.

What’s that look like in day-to-day life?

I don’t always get this right. In fact, I frequently get this wrong and have to be humbled before I start to “get it”.

In the midst of a drama-packed melt down from my daughter, shouldn’t my strength come from yelling, lecturing or punishing out of anger?

In quietness and trust is your strength. (Lisa, pray for your daughter and trust ME with her short comings.)

In the midst of a disagreement with my spouse, shouldn’t my strength come from arguing, complaining or even taking things into my own hands?

In quietness and trust is your strength. (Lisa, let go of your pride and trust ME with your husband.)

When I’m sitting in traffic on Bardstown Road and only going two miles in 30 minutes, shouldn’t my strength come from honking my horn or mumbling ugly words under my breath at complete strangers who can’t hear me?

In quietness and trust is your strength. (Lisa, take a deep breath and accept the situation as it is. Trust ME to calm your anxious heart.) 

Because of my sin nature, I am prone to try and DO something to gain what feels like strength in the heat of the moment. Yet those things all lead to disappointment, discouragement and even defeat. But when I quietly come before God and trust Him, I gain peace, hope and ultimately……STRENGTH.

So where are you feeling weak, dear friend? From where are you drawing your strength? Are you trying to muster up strength by doing things you think are productive? Are you impulsively reacting to a situation in which you feel weak? How do you handle the inner battle of your heart to DO -vs- BEING QUIET? Feel free to leave a comment! We’re on this journey together.

May we all embrace the truth and power of these words:

Isaiah 30 15


From Stress to Rest

“A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”

(Lysa TerKeurst from her latest book The Best Yes)

After hearing this truth, I can’t seem to get it out of my heart. In fact, I desire for it to stay there….for good. This truth resonates so deeply in my soul and it makes sense after really digesting it fully. Why? Because this is where I live. This is so often my life in a nutshell. I feel pulled in so many directions. And many of those directions are good things! Yet some of those directions are my own human flesh. Things I want for myself. Things that aren’t part of God’s plan for me.

Oh how I long to fully embrace God’s purpose for me in every area of my life. Every area. My marriage. My parenting. My relationships with friends. Anything God calls me to do.

So if I am feeling overwhelmed, something is wrong. Very wrong. Overwhelmed is not a word I see Jesus using to describe his calling while upon this earth. Overwhelmed is not a word listed in the fruits of the spirit. Overwhelmed is not supposed to be something that describes a follower of Jesus.

Yet we use this word frequently to describe our lives:

I’m overwhelmed with my job.

I’m overwhelmed with my kids’ demands.

I’m overwhelmed with my husband’s expectations.

I’m overwhelmed with serving people.

I’m overwhelmed with everything.

Can you relate to this truth? Do you feel stressed out with an overwhelmed schedule? Do any of the above statements resonate with you? We’re certainly not alone.

So what’s the answer to feeling overwhelmed with all the things we feel pulled to do? Or feel pulled to be?

I do know for certain that my Jesus calls me to rest in Him. To give my burdens to Him. To surrender my soul to Him. The central verse for my life is from the words of Jesus in Matthew,“Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” While I cling to this truth with my entire being, sometimes I just need something practical to flesh out what this really looks like.

One thing I will be doing over the days ahead is reading the book by Lysa TerKeurst called The Best Yes.  I can already tell it’s going to be profound and speak to where I live. I recommend it to you as well, dear friend.

In the meantime, I’m going to be looking closely at my schedule to make sure it’s God’s schedule. Anything outside of that will bring stress. I want to replace my stress with His rest!

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.”